As we begin a new year, a lot of people are busy making New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve never really been into doing that, mostly, because I know myself. The minute I make a resolution it will be broken in the next minute. Did you know that God makes plans for us? Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many plans are in a person’s heart, but the Lord’s decree will prevail.” (CSB) The New American Standard Bible says, “Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand.” (NASB 1995) We can make all kinds of plans for ourselves, but ultimately, it is God’s plan for our lives that will change all our well-laid plans for ourselves.
We must remember that God’s plans are always better than anything we can plan for ourselves. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV) That isn’t to say we shouldn’t make plans for ourselves. We need a sense of direction as to what to do with our lives, but sometimes, God will take those plans and turn things upside down. That’s when we learn to trust His guidance. For example, several years ago my first husband and I moved from Wisconsin to Ohio. We lived there for three years, and then an opportunity came up for my husband in Montana to work at a television station. We moved 1600 miles from Ohio to Montana, in the middle of a snowstorm that hit Montana just as we hit the state line! Let me tell you, driving a car in snow that’s up to the middle of your tires is no fun. Once we got settled, I told my husband, “We are NEVER moving cross-country again!” And it was just like God said, “Oh yeah? Watch this!” Ten years later we moved from Montana to Illinois for a job opportunity for my husband. Our plans got changed. We were planning on spending the rest of our lives in Montana. But God knew that three years later, my husband would have two strokes and epilepsy, which made him an invalid, and turned our lives upside down. We were where we needed to be. Close to good hospitals and a church that surrounded us with love and took care of us because we had no family around us close by. I am now remarried. My husband and I didn’t like life in Illinois because of the political and economic climate and planned to move to Arizona close to my sister. However, God changed things again. We found out that my husband is allergic to sagebrush, so we had to move again, back to Missouri to be close to his kids. So much for not moving cross-country! I have to laugh, because as much as I didn’t want to do that…God knew better than I did.
I’ve learned that will all my plans, I must make contingencies and allow God to do what He needs to do in my life. He sees the big picture and I only see just what is in front of me. Now, you may say, “Then why make plans, God’s only going to change them anyway.” The Bible tells us that it is a good thing to make plans. Even Jesus said it was a good thing and gave an example. (Luke 14:28-32) We need to make plans for our future, but we must give God room to make changes where He sees they need to be made.
Just like with our move from Ohio to Montana to Illinois…God knew my husband was going to need to be close to good hospitals and doctors to take care of him, and I would need a good church to surround me when everything became too hard for me to bear alone. I am truly grateful for that church and will always be! They gathered us in their arms and took care of us when our families couldn’t. If we would have stayed in Montana, chances are we would have had to transfer my husband either clear across the state or go to Salt Lake City to get his medical issues addressed. As it was, in Illinois, there were medical facilities close by that took very good care of him. God knew when I didn’t. His plan was better. The Bible reminds us that He doesn’t think the same way we do about things, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8 KJV)
So, go ahead and make your plans. Without making plans, we wander aimlessly through this life without much of a purpose. Just remember that God orders our steps. (Proverbs 16:9) As our verse today says, “God’s decree will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21 CSB) I find comfort in that. He knows us and what is best for us, and He loves us too much not to guide and direct us through this thing we call life.